SOURCE: Panera Bread Company

Panera Bread Company

December 17, 2014 07:00 ET

Panera Bread Reports on Progress to Improve Animal Welfare for Poultry and Livestock

No Antibiotics Ever for Pigs, No Gestation Crates for Pregnant Sows by January 2015

ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwired - December 17, 2014) - Panera Bread (NASDAQ: PNRA) today offered details regarding responsibly raised livestock and poultry following the company's Food Policy introduction in June. As part of Panera's commitment to have a positive impact on the food system and provide transparency, the Company is sharing progress on further reduction of antibiotic usage and confinement for farm animals in its U.S. supply chain for Panera Bread and St. Louis Bread Company bakery-cafes.

"For years, Panera has been working closely with farmers, ranchers and experts, to learn how we can tangibly improve conditions for the farm animals in our supply chain. We've intentionally reduced or eliminated the use of antibiotics and confinement because we believe those are among the most critical animal welfare issues we can impact," said Blaine Hurst, Executive Vice President, Chief Transformation and Growth Officer.

"Today's announcement isn't just about sharing our journey and aspirations; it's about taking action. We know there is definitely room for improvement, but today we're proud to reflect on progress."

Pigs
Several years ago, Panera began transitioning to pigs raised in environments with reduced confinement, meaning that the use of gestation crates or stalls was reduced or eliminated to allow pregnant sows more space for movement. In 2014, that meant 91 percent of Panera's pork supply received no antibiotics ever and was sourced from farms where pregnant sows are able to roam freely in group housing. These pigs are also fed a vegetarian-only diet. By January 2015, Panera intends for its entire pork supply -- approximately 8 million pounds -- to meet or exceed these standards.

Beef Cattle
In 2014, 80 percent -- or more than two million pounds -- of the beef served by Panera was grass-fed. This means that it was sourced from cattle that were able to roam freely and graze in pasture. 

Laying Hens (Eggs)
In 2014, 18 percent of the more than 70 million eggs the Company served -- including shell eggs, hard boiled and liquid egg whites -- came from laying hens raised in cage-free environments, allowing full range of movement in indoor barns. All hens that supply shell eggs and hard boiled eggs for Panera also met the standard for no antibiotics ever and vegetarian-only diet.

Poultry
In 2014, Panera marked 10 years serving chicken that received no antibiotics ever. This year, 100 percent of the chicken served in sandwiches and salads met this standard, and had a vegetarian-only diet. Nearly all the roasted turkey also received no antibiotics ever. Roasted turkey accounts for almost a third of the turkey served on Panera's sandwiches and salads.

"We believe higher levels of animal welfare result in higher quality food, and that -- combined with our culinary expertise -- leads to better taste. Panera Bread intends to continue adopting practices that allow for farm animals to be raised in environments that support their health, fitness, and freedom," said Dan Kish, Senior Vice President of Food.

"Providing transparency is a critical step for any food business to take if they are serious about farm animal welfare. Panera Bread has done that today by communicating their current standards," said Leah Garces, USA Director Compassion in World Farming. "Food companies have the power to make a big difference to the lives of farm animals, and that begins with examining their supply chain and identifying opportunities where welfare standards can be improved. We commend Panera Bread for their transparency and look forward to seeing their progress over time."

To learn more about Panera Bread's Food Policy, please visit www.panerabread.com/foodpolicy.

About Panera Bread
As of September 30, 2014, there are 1,845 bakery-cafes in 45 states and in Ontario, Canada operating under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co.® or Paradise Bakery & Cafe® names. We feature high quality, reasonably priced food in a warm, inviting and comfortable environment. With our identity rooted in handcrafted, fresh-baked, artisan bread, we are committed to providing great tasting, quality food that people can trust. Nearly all of our bakery-cafes have a menu highlighted by chicken raised without antibiotics, whole grain bread, and select organic and all-natural ingredients, with zero grams of artificial trans-fat per serving, which provide flavorful, wholesome offerings. Our menu includes a wide variety of year-round favorites complemented by new items introduced seasonally with the goal of creating new standards in everyday food choices. In neighborhoods across the United States and in Ontario, Canada, our customers enjoy our warm and welcoming environment featuring comfortable gathering areas, relaxing decor and free Internet access. Our bakery-cafes routinely donate bread and baked goods to community organizations in need. Additional information is available on our website, http://www.panerabread.com.

Matters discussed in this news release relating to future events, including any discussion, express or implied, on the timing of our efforts and initiatives designed to improve animal welfare, contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements are often identified by the words "believe," "positioned," "estimate," "project," "target," "plan," "goal," "assumption," "continue," "intend," "expect," "future," "anticipate," and other similar expressions, whether in the negative or the affirmative, that are not statements of historical fact. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks, uncertainties, and assumptions that are difficult to predict, and you should not place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements. Our actual results and timing of certain events could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of certain factors, including, but not limited to, those discussed from time to time in our reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013 and our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. All forward-looking statements and the internal projections and beliefs upon which we base our expectations included in this release are made only as of the date of this release and may change. While we may elect to update forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we expressly disclaim any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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